Search for New UW President Delayed

At its Sept. 19 meeting, the UW Board of Regents announced that its search for a new UW president is taking longer than previously expected. The regents had hoped to have a new president hired by the start of fall quarter. Instead, the board voted to have the Presidential Search Advisory Committee look at existing and new candidates and report back by May 1, 2004.

"The University of Washington is a unique educational and research institution and needs a leader with demonstrated skills as well as a number of intangibles that make a candidate a good fit for our University. Satisfying this need is taking longer than we expected. Eager as we are to hire a new president of the University, the regents are committed to finding the very best person for the job," said Board of Regents President Gerald Grinstein.

"The task of installing a permanent president is too important to rush. Lee Huntsman, as interim president, is keeping the University on course and moving forward," he added. "I also have confidence in the judgment and diligence of the existing search committee. Through months of hard work, the search committee came up with a list of highly qualified candidates. Therefore, I recommend to the board that we ask the committee to continue its work and to use the next several months to see if we can find just the right person to lead the University."

We will have fewer TAs, larger classes and some high demand courses will fill up too quickly.

The decline in state support will have some serious impacts, Thorud warns. The College of Arts and Sciences estimates it will offer 124 fewer courses in the new academic year and will lose at least 50 faculty positions, mostly through attrition. Other UW schools and colleges will also be hit with cuts.

The search began in November 2002 when Grinstein announced the appointment of a 15-member advisory committee and the hiring of an international search firm, Korn/Ferry, to help find the next UW leader. Former President Richard McCormick left the UW that month to take over Rutgers University in New Jersey. McCormick's salary jumped from $295,000 at the UW to $525,000 at Rutgers.

Last June the committee forwarded to the regents three to five finalists. The names were kept confidential, as is the common practice in university presidential searches. Leaders at other institutions are reluctant to put their names forward if the news is reported back to faculty and trustees at their current universities.

According to the American Council on Education, the average university presidential search takes three to 10 months, though if the target is a sitting president at another institution, it can take longer. The effort to replace UW President William P. Gerberding in 1994-95 took 14 months.

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